Protest camp against Geo’s closure enters third day

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PESHAWAR: The protest camp set up against the closure of the Geo TV channel continued on the third consecutive day outside the Peshawar Press Club on Monday. Journalists and people from other walks of life visited the camp to express solidarity with the Jang Media Group.

The participants chanted slogans in favour of Geo and the Jang Group and condemned the unilateral decision of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) without even hearing the viewpoint of the largest media group of the country. They demanded lifting of the ban on Geo TV and an end to the attacks on the vehicles carrying copies of the dailies The News and Jang.

Besides others, senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) President Nisar Mehmood, Peshawar Press Club President Nasir Hussain, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Arbab Khizer Hayat. Property Association president Mazhar Wakil Durrani, former leader of the PTI lawyers wing Hidayatullah Khan, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists vice-president Shamim Shahid, daily Jang Peshawar editor Arshad Aziz Malik and bureau chief of Geo TV in Peshawar Mehmud Jan Baber attended the camp.

The speakers on the occasion termed as unjust the Pemra decision to ban Geo TV for 15 days and impose fine of Rs10 million against it. They said the Jang Group workers and editors were being harassed and intimidated and the copies of The News and Jang were being burnt. They said that the Geo TV was, in fact, already put off air for 45 days through the use of force and threats. They said the Jang Group had suffered huge financial losses, but it had refused to bow to any undue pressure and threats as it believed in the freedom of the media.

They wondered what would happen after 15 days if the Geo TV still couldn’t telecast its programmes independently. The journalists and newspapers employees at the protest camp pledged to continue their campaign until Geo TV was allowed to operate freely and the newspapers of the Jang Group were allowed to be distributed all over Pakistan.

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